This is an interesting deal. Banggood has the Royal Kludge RK61 keyboard with your choice of blue, brown, or red switch at a 33% discount. They have free shipping on orders over $50, but the shipping on this keyboard is only $1.70 for me.
Blue switches have a tactile feel, and they make a clicky sound. Brown switches have a tactile feel when they engage, but they don’t make the loud click. Red switches are linear, so you can’t feel the point where the switch engages, and they don’t make the click.
Why is this interesting? Banggood ships out of China, and that shipping is slower than molasses in January. I order quite a bit of stuff from Banggood. They’ll sell you weird things that are hard to find elsewhere, but it takes forever to get your stuff.
You can get the same keyboard on Amazon right now for $46 with Prime shipping. The version available at Amazon doesn’t have the RGB LEDs, and it is only available with Blue switches.
Does this count as a cheap mechanical keyboard?
I’m not sure how I feel about this one. The price of the Royal Kludge is approaching that of keyboards from reputable manufacturers. Is it really worth saving a few bucks on such a strange brand, even if the keyboard has a rather awesome name? I’m not sure, but the features seem pretty nice to me.
This keyboard has a 60% layout. No number pad. No dedicated arrow keys. No function keys across the top. I don’t know about you, but I could almost live with this layout.
Having to hit the
fn key in the bottom corner along with the
1 key to press
F1 isn’t a big deal. I’ve had laptops like this in the past, and I barely noticed it.
The lack of dedicated arrow keys wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me, but I have a major problem with this keyboard. They replaced the tilde key with the escape key. I’m a UNIX guy. I type backticks and tildes quite frequently, but I also use escape a lot. This would drive me insane, and I can’t think of a way to remap the keys to correct the situation.
How does this compare to my $32 Z-88 keyboard?
The extra $10 and long shipping time of the Royal Kludge K61 buy you a couple of things. It is a Bluetooth wireless keyboard, and it looks like you can easily pair it with up to three different devices. You can use it as a regular USB keyboard, too. I used a Bluetooth keyboard for a while, and it was nice not having the cable running across my desk. Neat and tidy.
You can't really tell in the picture, but I swapped one of my long, fabric wrapped micro USB cables onto my new keyboard. Since it is longer, I can route the cable in a better direction, which is nice! pic.twitter.com/6Lu9AuWquv— Pat Regan (@patsheadcom) October 1, 2019
It is also smaller than my Z-88. My Z-88 has dedicated function keys across the top, a set of arrow keys on the bottom right, and an entire extra column of keys on the right.
If you want Bluetooth, and if you want to save 1/2” of space, and you don’t mind losing out on some keys that might be important, then the Royal Kludge might be a good value for you!
The permanently cheap mechanical keyboard
I should mention that one of my regular readers pointed me towards another mechanical keyboard deal last month. The RECCAZR MK910F is a full-size 104-key keyboard with blue mechanical switches. It is $19.99 with Prime shipping at Amazon. It has been at that price for a long time, and it will probably continue to be cheap for quite a while.
If you’re looking to try a mechanical keyboard, you ought to check it out!
I’m sorry that you missed out on the Z-88 compact keyboard when it was $32. I think it is a better choice. The Z-88 with blue switches is $42 at full price from Amazon, so it is still about the same price as the Royal Kludge RK61.
Even so, I wouldn’t mind using a Bluetooth keyboard again, and being able to choose which type of mechanical switch you want in your keyboard is nice, too!